When I was invited to review one of Sasha's Global Table Adventure recipes, I didn't hesitate for one second. I love the idea of cooking a meal from a different country and the recipes I have tried so far were delicious. (I highly recommend the Mauritian Chilli Poppers or the Alfajores amongst many other things).
This time, we decided to try a little piece of São Tomé. São Tomé. You know? São Tomé is a small island in Western Africa. As you can see from the spelling of the country, it was once a Portuguese colony. And here is why I chose it. Not because it is a former Portuguese colony, but because my Portuguese father-in-law spent some time there for his military service. He has fond memories of the island and my husband has an understandable fascination with the island from stories his dad used to tell and still tells him.
Some of his most memorable stories revolve around fishing and in particular spearfishing sessions. He spent countless hours of his free time in the company of schools of enormous fishes or giant coconut crabs often distributing the fruit of his labour with the poorest families of the island. There where tales of giant barracudas that could eat you at any minute and of enormous sharks. You can imagine the little sea-lover boy's fascination. The best story is that of a sting ray that managed to give my father-in-law the best souvenir of Sāo Tomé: a pierced arm.
The choice was therefore very easy: a fish recipe from São Tomé: an African island where their grandfather had spent time. A fantastic opportunity to get a little bit of a conversation going with our children and family.
We cooked the easy fish feijoada on a Sunday night after a really tough week where all of us had been sick. And let me tell you it was easy. Few ingredients, quick execution and so tasty. Perfect. Just how we like family food.
Feijoada is normally a meat dish. I had never had it with fish. But when Sasha originally asked for suggestions for São Tomé my husband and I suggested it to her even though we had never cooked it. She even very gracefully mentioned me in writing her recipe. I have to admit though that even if we had suggested it, we had never cooked it ourselves. It was just something that was typical but never really had it. One more reason to go for it.
We followed the recipe almost to the letter but could not get hold of red palm oil. So we substituted for coconut oil after a little bit of internet research. The oil gave a real unique flavour to the dish without the addition of any spices. It was delicious. Simple to make and loved by all.
It was truly a perfect evening spent with the family talking about family and special adventures. Thank you Sasha for providing us with this great opportunity.
If you are looking for one more little taste of São Tomé, some of the best cacao in the world comes from there. You can probably find some near you.